Welcome to Songlines!
Leeds Lieder’s collection of learning resources exploring the wonderful world of Art Song.
Here you’ll find recordings, videos, scores, activity sheets, word sheets,
and loads of information all about Lieder or Art Song.
What is Lieder or Art Song?
Lieder is the German word for ‘Songs’, but we use this word in English when referring to a special type of song which we call, ‘Art Songs’.
Art Songs, as the name suggests, are songs that paint a picture in your imagination and tell a story.
They’re usually written for singer and piano and are musical settings of amazing poetry full of drama and emotion.
Click on a song to find out more about it and access our free resources!
|Song title||Composer / Poet||Description|
|It's amazing to think that this hugely famous lullaby was written by Brahms as a gift for two close friends of his who had just had their second baby. You'll already know the tune, and many of you will already have fallen asleep to the lilt of the piano accompaniment when you were babies. We've offered up a little harmony line to try something different.|
|I feel no hate |
(Ich grolle nicht)
|It may be called, 'I feel no hate', but this little song is full of hurt and anger! The poet may be telling us that he won't begrudge his gloating lover, but Schumann's music is telling a different story.|
|Is my team ploughing?||George Butterworth|
|This song, usually sung by one singer, is actually a conversation between the ghost of a man killed in battle and his friend, who is still alive. Rather than a spooky ghost story though, the song tells a sad tale of death, friendship and love and trails off at the end, feeling almost unfinished. It's all made even more poignant when you know that the composer, Butterworth, was killed in the First World War.|
|I stood in darkened daydreams |
(Ich stand in dunkeln Träumen)
|It might be easy to think that all Germans of the 19th Century were moody teenagers given that so many of the love songs from this period are actually quite sad and gloomy. This particularly beautiful example of angst was written by Clara Schumann who, although often overshadowed by her husband Robert, was a hugely successful performer and composer in her own right.|
Leconte de Lisle
|A beautiful love song which, rather than exploring the tumultuous pain and anguish of love, as songs often do, simply heaps praise on the beloved (in this case Lydia) in a shower of compliments. There's a clever little cryptic clue hidden in the music of this song as the mode (or scale) that it uses is called the Lydian. It's like an audible signature.|
|No word from thee||Tchaikovsky |
|Tchaikovsky really drew out all the emotions he could from this short and intense poem based on the writings of Tolstoy. It feels like we've interrupted an argument between two people. Are they strangers, friends or lovers? You decide…|
|Manuel de Falla|
|The singer of this song is clearly a little miffed and they don't mind the world knowing about it. "You loved me once, why don't you still love me now?" they ask in a hot-headed and sometimes threatening way. The song is based on Spanish folk music and is full of dance rhythm and hot harmony.|
|The Mouser's Magical Verses |
Eduard F Mörike
|This song is sung from the perspective of a child who has just walked three times round a mousetrap, and is a piece of light-hearted mumbo-jumbo which is supposed to entice mice to enter the trap and lose their tails – or worse! Charming.|
|The Sailor's Song||Joseph Haydn|
|This rollocking, rip-roaring, swashbuckling adventure tells the story of a seaman on the open ocean (or the 'high Cs', if you will). These sailors are ready for anything in the hurly burly of a mariner's life!|
|The wondrous lovely month of May |
(Im wunderschonen Monat Mai)
|A sensitive soul compares the dawn of love with the blossoming of nature and the return of the birds. Romantic poets and composers loved to make these comparisons between the world around us and our internal emotions. It's called 'pathetic fallacy' and we still see it in films today – have you spotted what the weather is usually doing in films when the characters are sad or angry?|
|The Year's at the Spring||Amy Beach|
|This short little exclamation of joy and unbounded gratitude for life declares that everything is right with the world! What has happened to the singer to encourage this explosion of delight, I wonder? Is it simply that Spring has sprung and it's not dark at 7am? What makes you leap for joy?|
|To Wander |
|We like to think of this as the theme tune to our Discovering Lieder Project as it forms the basis of our workshop and is always the grand finale of the culmination concert! It's a jaunty song that is the start of a long and exciting tale of love, loss, mills, rivers and walking!|
|To where? |
|The second part to the story started in 'To Wander', this song sees our friend the Miller set out on the first steps of their long journey. Our protagonist takes in their surroundings and is looking forward to the adventure ahead.|
|True Love |
Johann Ludwig Tieck
|Despite the beauty of Brahms’ music, the subject of the poem is actually rather depressing. A girl waits by the edge of the sea for her boyfriend who does not arrive; as evening falls, she realises she may never see him again; the water laps at her feet and her longing to be reunited with her drowned lover overwhelms her; she is drawn irresistibly into the water and joins him in death.|
|Whenas the rye||Peter Warlock|
|A delightfully bizarre song from a wonderfully eccentric composer! 'Chop cherry' was apparently a game which involved trying to catch a cherry suspended on a string – oh, for the days before Xbox and Netflix!|
|Windy Nights||Reynaldo Hahn|
|A descriptive song which pictures the wind as a man on horseback (you can even hear the galloping in the piano part) who rides out at night, makes the trees cry and rocks the ships at sea. The wind is characterised as mysterious and inescapable, which is pretty much how it feels if you've ever been out walking on a dark and windy day!|